The Help, The Hope & The Healer

I know I’m late to the party as it comes to watching “The Help,” however my wife and I just saw it last night.  Honestly, I’m not sure how a couple of crazy months went by without us meandering into the theater to see a move about race, justice and the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was actually surprised that the movie was still showing at the theaters, considering how long ago it was released.  I shared my surprise with the guy at the AMC Theater ticket counter and he said this, “We have lots of old people that still buy tickets.”  My response, “Are you saying that I’m old?”  His response, “No I mean like really old people in wheelchairs and with canes and walkers.”  The funny thing is we had to wait on an old lady as her daughter helped her gingerly walk up the stairs in the theater.

I have mentioned in my Social Media streams that I’m going to share my thoughts about the movie and I generally do a quick review of movies.  For instance here is one that I did on The Karate Kid when it came out.

I’m not going to do a typical review, however I will share my thoughts.  The help was real and captured the realities of racism in a way that is palatable for moviegoers.  Additionally, it provoked plenty of emotions with the realities of decisions people made and thoughts that they had because of pure ignorance.  I think one of the undertones that were really sad and true is that ignorance knows no bounds and will even try to disguise itself as knowledge, wisdom and intellect.  The scenes attributed to the women’s group trying to get “The Help Sanitation Initiative” aka separate but equal restroom legislation passed.

Let me say this about “The Help.”  I love that it reminds us of the past and how ignorant people were and how they tried to justify their ignorance.  It reminds me somewhat of where the church is today; we make lots of excuses for a separate but equal church and disguise the ignorance of it with preference, style, location excuses and attempt to justify them as knowledge, wisdom and intellect.

In my book Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week, I point out the realities of today’s church being the modern day separate but equal.  Many Christian Leaders land Christians in general laugh, downplay and even minimize the fact that 93% of the churches in America are racially segregated.  Just like these well-intentioned ladies in the movie “The Help” attempted to justify their ignorant thinking.

The help taught us what can happen with courage and helped us to redefine the word. Courage Daring to do what is right in spite of the weakness in our flesh.  Nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had the courage to address the sad fact that “at the 11 o’clock hour on Sunday morning when stand to sing we stand in the most segregated hour in America.”  Unfortunately, that’s till true today.  Another thing that we learned from “The Help” is the fact that courage sometimes skips a generation.

Courage in the church as it relates to issues of race an ethnicity appears to have skipped many generations. Fortunately there are more and more leaders having the courage to help us see every nation, tribe and tongue worshiping together… a little Heaven on earth in the church.  I appreciate the work of those in this generation who have been fighting the good fight: Dr. Michael Emmerson, Efrem Smith, Mark DeYmaz, Christian Smith, Dr. Tony Evans, Bill Hybels and recently John Piper.  I could list countless other pastors and leaders, who are demonstrating the courage to address this issue for the Body Of Christ.

John Piper’s addition to the Church Diversity or “Church Help” discussion is well received.  Piper has an E.F. Hutton principal in his favor (when he talks, people listen).  This is true for thousands upon thousands of Christian Leaders and Christians in general.   In John Piper’s new book Blood Lines, he argues from specific biblical texts that the only solution powerful enough to overcome racial strife and bring about racial reconciliation and harmony is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through His blood, Jesus has demolished the dividing wall that separates humanity along racial lines and has brought all ethnicities together as brothers and sisters into one body the church. Piper does not end there, he shepherds readers through the various implications of gospel thinking in relation to race and ethnicity.

I’ll close with this.  Many of us watched “The Help,” which was a true depiction of 50 years ago, and ask the question, “How in the world could they be so ignorant?”  The real question is 50 years from now, when people watch a movie titled, “The Church,” which depicts the separate but equal nature of the church…  What question will they ask?  “How in the world could they be so [fill in the blank]?”

Courage skips a generation…  Don’t let that generation be ours.

“The local church is the hope of the world and it’s future primarily rests on the hands of it’s leaders.” ~Bill Hybels

The Help, The Hope & The Healer.

Change begins with a whisper… what are you whispering?

Share your thoughts on The Help, The Church and The Future.

  • Lance Lang

    Awesome! Well written & thought provoking.

    • Scott Williams

      Thanks! & thanks for the comment

  • I loved the movie and I love this blog post! Way to split atoms on a Monday morning, Scott!

    “How in the world could they be so [fill in the blank]?”

    I think I’d fill in the blank with your sentiment on “diversity.” I’m believing the blood of Christ (in His perfect timing) will roll out and consume this beast of division . . . it’s almost laughable . . . skin color . . . really? . . . who created a rainbow of color in the blink of an eye? We are so quick to be overwhelmed by the beauty of nature and it’s heartbreaking/breathtaking sunsets yet unimpressed when we stand to worship in the sanctuary and fail to notice the mind-blowing array of color, ethnicity, thought, brilliance & anointing that breathes around us. Like I said . . . it really is laughable and absurd to fathom we can be so “evolved” intellectually but dumb as rocks spiritually and morally. I believe we are as evolved as our most secret prejudice—which throws some of us back to the stone age.

    I’m grateful for the progress and pray up the pastors who are passionate about this issue.

    I’d also fill in that blank with “technology.” Sometimes I think the Church acts like a third world country as if it’s “all thumbs” with current technology platforms and communicating who it is and what it believes to a captive audience (social networks). Some churches use it with caution and many still use it inconsistently (YES, there are exceptions—like LifeChurch.tv).

    Grace. Love. Repeat. That’s where I’m at with our many gaps. I love the body of Christ and watching our flawed humanity become more and more like Christ every day. I’m ecstatic The Help was made—I think it should be shown in every classroom in America to remind us how, as you said: “that ignorance knows no bounds and will even try to disguise itself as knowledge, wisdom and intellect.”

    That “attack” to me is far more dangerous than a terrorist attack on my children—far more dangerous!

    Love this post, Scott! Glad I caught it in my stream today!

    • Scott Williams

      I’m glad it caught your attention as well. Your comment could be a blogpost.

      it’s almost laughable . . . skin color . . . really? . . . who created a rainbow of color in the blink of an eye?

  • I found myself sitting in the theatre crying the day I watched this. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it…until the “church” decides to open up and truly discuss this subject it will not change in the world. This is one of those subjects that literally causes my heart to hurt!

    • Scott Williams

      I try really hard not to cry… This movie was very close. Lakendria was crying in a sniffling kind of way. 🙂

  • martin dingman

    The fact that we continue to have racism in our country is totally inexcusable. We continue to have this issue because of ignorance, and the sinful human need to be “better” than someone else. That being said, all segregation is not racism. For Latinos to worship together in an environment that is comfortable to their culture is understandable, so why not with white and black alike? Unfortunately the R word is misused much too often. Different cultures feel more comfortable among their own, and that is natural. Just imagine the opposite for a moment. How bland would our world be with only one color, one language, one type of food, one genre of music??? Multiculturalism is an extremely beautiful thing. When ignorance and hate enter the picture we hurt our fellow man, and sadden our Father in heaven.

    • Scott Williams

      Amen & Amen

  • Coni Andress

    I loved the book and the movie. You pulled out some strong points of those times. I grew up in the 1960s up North and I was completely ignorant of how deep racism ran in the southern states at that time. I rather identified with Skeeer’s ignorance of the very real danger these courageous ladies were putting themselves in by helping her put the truth out there.
    I work as a hairstylist in the film and television industry. There are only a few projects on my resume that I can say I am proud to have worked on. This is one of them. I had the pleasure of creating some of the hairstyles in the scene at the ball with the bake auction!!! It was a lot of fun to do.
    Thanks for posting.

    • Scott Williams

      That is awesome… Thanks for sharing, when I watch it again I’m gonna pay close attention to the hairstyles. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

  • So inspired by your post — I took my 11 yo daughter & her friend to see it the very day you posted (my second time seeing it — I never see movies twice!).

    She was GLUED to the screen.

    I later overheard her telling her friend: “You is smart. You is kind. You is important.”

    Beautiful words. I noticed the “redemption” angle more the second time I saw the movie.

    🙂

    • Scott Williams

      Those were some powerful words… I think I can take my boys to see Real Steel a second time. It was really good!

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